Collections

Donating to the Collections

An exciting upgrade to the National Sports Museum is currently underway, and staff are busy behind the scenes right through until we re-open in late February 2020.  During this time, replies to proposed object donation offers may be subject to delays of up to six months. We know this sounds like a long time, but think of it like 8 Tour de Frances. Or 11 Olympic Games. 

Please still send your offer through, and we will be in touch.

If you have an object(s) you would like to offer to the museum, please email collections@nsm.org.au.

To help with our assessment, include as much detail as you can – for example:

  • A description/list of the object(s)
  • Photographs of the object(s)
  • A summary of the history or significance of the object(s), such as who used it, and when
  • The name and contact details of the current legal owner of the object(s)
  • The current location of the object(s).

Please do not send the object(s) or bring the objects to the museum without contacting us first. Staff are unable to accept material that has not completed the donation process.

What does the museum collect?

We welcome donations of relevant and suitable objects to the National Sports Museum and the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum collections. We also work closely with the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum. Each of the three collections has a different area of focus, guided by its collection policy.

All accepted donations become available for use in our exhibitions, for research by appointment, or loan to other cultural institutions.

National Sports Museum Collection

The NSM collects objects relating to all sports played in Australia or by Australians.

Three specific types of material are acquired as a priority:

  • Objects that relate to contemporary champions, past champions and significant events in Australian sporting history
  • Objects that provide specific and focused examples of ‘grass roots’ participation in various sports across all eras
  • Objects that demonstrate the underpinning social importance of sport to Australians of all ages across all eras.

Please read the National Sports Museum Collection Policy for more information.

Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum Collection

The AGOSOM collects objects relating to Australian participation at (or involvement in) the various incarnations of the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

Three specific types of Olympic/ Paralympic material are acquired as a priority:

  • Objects that relate to the 1956 Summer Olympic Games, for which Melbourne was the host city
  • Objects that relate to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, for which Melbourne was the host city
  • Objects that relate to Australian athletes who have achieved success or fame at any incarnations of the Olympic and Paralympic movements

Please read the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum Collection Policy for more information.

Melbourne Cricket Club Museum Collection

The MCC Museum collects objects associated with the history and development of the Melbourne Cricket Club, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground and surrounding areas. It also collects material showing the development of cricket in Australia, with a focus on Test, limited overs, and intercolonial cricket.

Please read the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum Collection Policy for more information.

What’s involved in the donation process?

All donation offers are assessed by museum staff in consultation with our collection policies. This process includes documenting the history and significance of the items on offer, reviewing similar material in our existing collections, and working with donors closely throughout. This means it can take some time to complete!

If accepted, each donation is formalised through completion of a Deed of Gift. This documents the permanent transfer of ownership of the object to National Sports Museum Limited or the MCG Trust (Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum).

But we also can’t accept everything!

There may be occasions where a donation is declined because the object(s):

  • Is duplicated within existing collections
  • Is badly damaged
  • Does not have clear provenance and history
  • Cannot be properly displayed, stored, conserved or cared for within the museum’s resources
  • Is offered with conditions (for example, that is must be perpetually displayed)
  • Does not fit within the museum’s collection policies

Will my donation be displayed?

We are unfortunately unable to accept donations that come with a condition of display.

When curating new exhibition content, staff will look for material that is connected to the theme or story being displayed. Our own collection is often the first port of call when it comes to putting together a new exhibition.

The museum is also committed to the care of all items in our collections. As such, we rotate material on display to ensure its long-term preservation.

Can I lend objects to the museum instead of donating?

The NSM only accepts loaned material on a short-term basis, when required for exhibition. All offers to lend objects to the museum are kept on file so that we can be in touch if there is an opportunity to display an item. So please let us know about any items you have that would be available for the museum to borrow.